The three states that permit gambling in India are Goa, Sikkim and Daman and considering the potential of the Indian gambling industry, a number of other states are also pushing to see if they can legalize the gambling industry.
Karnataka wants to become the fourth state to legalize gambling in India and is pushing for floating casinos to be approved in order to generate more tourism and taxes from the gambling industry.
There is huge potential for the gambling industry in India but strong opposition from political and religious groups have made it extremely difficult for gambling lobbyists to be able to push any bill through. Goa’s casinos have also come under fire from the Indian National Congress who want a blanket ban on floating casinos and live casinos stating that these casinos cause more evil than good to society.
Karnataka is not pushing for live casinos as the government knows that it would be extremely difficult to get approval for the same but has taken a softer approach and suggested cruise liners that provide gambling facilities to its visitors. Karnataka has a reputation for being one of the most cosmopolitan states in India and is considered the I.T. hub of India. The state is known for having a pub culture where many working professionals prefer to spend their evenings in a bar and have a few drinks.
The introduction of floating casinos could be a huge hit with the locals and generate a significant amount of revenue for the state of Karnataka. The government is currently considering two options for these floating casinos: the first option is having the casino cruiseliner permanently offshore and ferrying passengers to and fro to have fun onboard. The second option is to launch a 3 days/4 nights package that starts from the Mangaluru port and goes through Karwar, Malpe before finally stopping over at the Udup port.
The principal secretary for tourism Pradeep Singh Kharola has stated that there are currently no plans to legalize casinos in Karnataka but other sources allege that the state government is seriously considering this proposal and will address it in detail during the Invest Karnataka 2016 event that is scheduled to take place in February 2016.
Once the topic of floating casinos is officially raised in Karantaka’s assembly, there is bound to be a lot of opposition from anti-gambling legislators and lobbyists but Chief Minister Siddaramaiah should have sufficient time to pass and implement such a bill as his term is only expected to end in 2018.